The board of directors of US packaged foods group General Mills yesterday [Monday] approved a quarterly dividend at the prevailing rate of US$0.275 per share.

The dividend will be payable 1 November 2002, to shareholders of record 10 October 2002. General Mills and its predecessor company have now paid uninterrupted dividends without reduction for 104 years, the company said in a release.

General Mills chairman and chief executive officer Steve Sanger told shareholders attending the company's 74th annual meeting, held in Minneapolis, that fiscal 2002 was a year of significant change for General Mills with the completion of the Pillsbury acquisition. Sanger reported that the company is off to a good start towards achieving its fiscal 2003 objectives. Last week, the company reported first-quarter diluted earnings per share of 56 cents before unusual items.

In actions at the annual meeting, shareholders elected the 13 directors nominated and approved the appointment of KPMG LLP as the company's independent auditor. Two shareholder proposals, one concerning genetically modified foods and one concerning global labour standards, were not approved.